Wednesday, May 7, 2008


There is always a time in a person's life where medicine is needed to cure an illness or a sickness. The one person everyone usually goes to for this apart from the doctors and nurses are the pharmacists.
Like any pharmacist, Joshila Lal knows what it takes to make sure people get the right medication for their illness.
She is the pharmacist in charge at Pharmacy Plus in Suva.
Born and bred in the heart of Suva, Joshila is the youngest of two children.
Life was never easy for the young pharmacist especially when her father, Raman Lal was the only breadwinner in the family.
Growing up in Amy Street, Toorak, Joshila knew from an early age she wanted to help people.
Her father was a sales assistant and her mother, Bhanumati Lal was a housewife.
She said despite her father's low income, they still managed to live a happy life.
Joshila said her mother used to do odd jobs to help out with family finances.
"I was brought up in a poor family. We lived opposite the Suva Private Hospital which was not there before. We had a small home, one bedroom and my father was the only breadwinner at the time. It was a difficult life back then but we managed to get by," she said.
"My mother was a housewife but she also did odd jobs like tailoring and this helped with the finances of our family.
"It was my mother who wanted me to become a pharmacist because that time there was a pharmacy and a doctor living opposite us. She wanted my brother to be a doctor and me the pharmacist. However, I turned out to be the pharmacist and my brother turned out to be a teacher."
In 1981, she attended primary school at Nehru Memorial and later continued her secondary education at Dudley High completing Form Seven.
Fortunately for her, hard work and perseverance paid off when she was awarded the John Crawford scholarship which is now known to many as the AusAID scholarship.
"I attended Victorian College of Pharmacy in Melbourne, Australia. It was my first time away from home and I stayed at a boarding house and it was something I enjoyed despite missing my family. I found the experience an eye opener especially since it was a whole new experience for me. There were a lot of differences in Australia like the way things were taught at university as well as the different cultures.
"I wasn't the only one homesick. There were other students from Singapore and Malaysia who felt the same way I did when I first arrived. Missing home and finding everything new. It was something we had in common and this is what made us get along with life.
"I graduated in 1998 with a degree in Pharmacy. This was after I did my training and internship. I also completed a Diploma of Health Science in Herbal Medicine."
Apart from university life, Joshila also worked for a little extra pocket money.
She was employed as a sales assistant at a pharmacy in Australia where she was able to save up for casual holidays overseas including Europe and Thailand.
Joshila worked in Australia for five years before returning to Fiji in 2002. She was then employed at Medicine Pharmacy at Cumming Street, Suva for three years.
"I then went to Lautoka to work at Thakor Lal's Pharmacy. Eventually, I came back to Suva and I only just recently started work here at Pharmacy Plus.
"My job requires me to be on the move all the time. Being a pharmacist is not easy. You have to make sure people get the right dosage, the right medication for the right person.
"It is a job that needs constant concentration because you are dealing with people. You need to double check everything you do to make sure the right person gets the right medicine.
"To be a pharmacist, one needs to study hard, persevere and show dedication.
"The most important thing is to have the passion to want to help people. If you don't have that then it is no use being a pharmacist. I enjoy the work I do because I know I am helping people," said the young pharmacist.
Adapted from Fijitimes Online